By Joe Vitale
On a Saturday night in April, hundreds of students packed Leonard Theater to watch Fordham Flava grace the community with its annual Spring Showcase. The two-and-a-half-hour show was the culmination of the group’s preparation throughout the semester. The theme of Flava’s performance, “Fame & Fortune,” allowed the group to showcase a little bit of everything.
The group dedicated time not only to developing the event, but also creating a memorable marketing campaign, featuring an intersection of social media and the arts. In the group’s program, for example, each member tweeted a personal bio, incorporating hashtags. The event’s schedule was in the format of a Facebook timeline and other social media sites (This was partly in the hands of Zachary Vaughn, GSB ‘15, who handled much of the group’s marketing).
Flava, formed in 2004, is composed of 21 dancers. Ranging across class year and major, Flava boasts a wide array of talent. The dancers find the performance group a rewarding way to express their creativity.
“I was fortunate enough to join Flava second semester, and dancing with people who are passionate about the art of dance, dedicated, creative, welcoming and hilariously dysfunctional, has made my freshman year more than I could have ever imagined,” Taylor Branson, FCRH ’17, said.
Members commit many hours to practicing, and sometimes feel like their hardwork goes unnoticed. Other students agree.
“I think that with all the attention given to the athletic teams on campus, performance groups often get overlooked. I, for one, did not realize how much time and effort Flava and other performance groups on campus put into preparing for performances,” Kelsey Bourke, FCRH ’17, said. “After seeing first-hand how much work it takes to get a show together on campus, I definitely think that Flava and other performance groups at Fordham deserve much more recognition.”
As for the performance itself, the night ran wild with hard-hitting beats and energetic choreography. Four diverse mixes carried the night, many of which featured hip-hop songs, as well as more soulful R&B-inspired beats. Industrial and trap influences also found their way into the mixes, giving Flava a wide-ranging choice of costumes for the showcase.
The initial mix, set under pink and purple hued lights, featured an ensemble adorned in all-white clothing. Dancers skipped and stepped, until two of the dancers found themselves in the spotlight. In the brief scene, a bright-eyed girl stumbled upon one of the male dancers and flirted with him, forcing him to look over his shoulder. The mix ended with the girl whispering in her partner’s ear, and then the male and female dancers locked eyes. It served as a climactic ending to a braggadocios performance tuned to Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle” and Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead,” as well as a precursor to the mixes to follow.
The second mix transitioned to a set that showed off the entire group. With cheers from fans, the group, costumed all in black, moved blissfully onto the stage, opening with Beyoncé’s “Partition.” The six-minute set closed with Justin Timberlake’s “Strawberry Bubblegum,” a sugary pop and soul track. The dancers moved off-stage, then back on, and seemed to multiply by the second, creating a mesmerizing sequence of movement on the stage.
“We are larger, more beautiful versions of ourself through our mutual love for dance andone another,” Branson said.
The third mix, which incorporated an urban flair, featured the crew’s swift and sexy moves accompanied by Jason Derulo’s ubiquitous “Talk Dirty.” In this mix, ’90s fashion abounded. The dancers wore plaid shirts wrapped around their waists, and the mix ends with all the group’s females standing with their fists in the air.
The fourth set of the show was perhaps the most subdued. An eclectic blend of moves and tunes were present as the dancers strutted slowly but sharply around stage. The show closed with an arrangement to West’s “Good Life.” While the song faded, the applause only grew louder as the group took their bows.
Looking forward, the group will be losing four seniors this year, but are eager for the growth that will ultimately come of the changes.
“The team dynamic is unique every year. The shoes of our older members will never be filled. Instead, the number of shoes simply grows,” Diaz said. “And the colors are increasingly more vibrant.”
Joe Vitale is Managing Editor at The Fordham Ram.